Do people become more introspective as they get older? Or is it just because we older ones have more time to think about ourselves and how our lives have turned out? I guess there are also plenty of older folks who don’t give a whit about thinking about themselves, carrying on as merrily as they can, day by day.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the “devil-may-care” gene. I’m not afraid to poke at every scab, turn over the rocks of my youth and ponder about what I was doing at the time or what might have been. Guess what though? I’m getting over that bad habit now. How and why? First of all, it doesn’t do any good, as all the self-help books in the world will tell you: because you can’t change the past. You can’t even change very much how you might FEEL about the past. What was, was, with however much heartache or 20-20 hindsight there might have been then and might linger now.
That being said, I feel that the danger is to keep thinking about it, not letting it go, as a way of, what? … torturing oneself? or keeping oneself from enjoying and being happy in the here and now? For me, it’s been the latter. I’ve dragged that bag(gage) for a long time and even hung onto it as a way to remind myself that my life wasn’t that perfect. As though anyone of us has a life that has been perfect! (I haven’t even been to Disneyland so some might say I’ve haven’t yet lived, not that I ever wanted to go.)
So we all have had different ideas of what we wanted from life. In reflection, I remembered that all I ever wanted was being in a mutually loving relationship, making my home and sharing it with a family. I have all of that good fortune, as it turns out. It’s what makes me rejoice and celebrate by making all the little meals that I’ve described on this blog; knitting sweaters for my daughters and granddaughters, keeping house, playing the piano. Sharing a life of music and pianos in a place that my husband has built over the past few decades is my greatest good fortune as it turns out. I am never more thankful than when the power goes out in zero degree weather and G. is up in the middle of the night, checking the systems in the house to make sure we are safe from pipes bursting and/or heating systems that are working as they should be (we have an old geothermal system that heats and cools the house.)
And what about me? Honestly, (and that’s the only way this whole thing works in my opinion) I think I could have been much easier on myself and on those I cared about through the years. I made choices that were the right ones and I didn’t make ones that could also have been the right ones. But that’s water under a very old bridge. Believe it or not, I’ve just (a day or so ago) stopped holding onto that. There’s no way to salvage what was lost so long ago. To think that it isn’t gone, even in our memory, is a waste of time. Moreover, that kind of negative energy depletes the energy we have at our disposal every day when we wake up in the life we now live in.
It doesn’t hurt to think about all of these things, although it might feel like it still hurts while we’re doing it. But as they say, there are some things that you can’t avoid except to go through the middle of it, even if it’s something that’s long overdue. Although you might not know what I’m talking about as it relates to myself, this post may ring a bell (tinkle, tinkle!) in the back of your mind about something that resonates with you. What I’m saying is that when you look in the mirror and clean things up with yourself, it can go a very long way.
Just rejoice when the old hurt stops and you can smile when you look in the mirror.